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IBM Research Announces New Advances in Device Performance for Quantum Computing

Scientists at IBM Research (NYSE: IBM)/ (#ibmresearch) have achieved major advances in quantum computing device performance that will accelerate the realization of a practical, full-scale quantum computer. For specific applications, quantum computing which leverages the underlying quantum mechanical behavior of matter has the potential to deliver computational power that is unrivaled by any supercomputer today.

Using a variety of techniques in the IBM labs, scientists have established three new records for reducing the error in elementary computations and retaining the integrity of quantum mechanical properties in quantum bits (qubits) – the basic units that carry information within quantum computing. Furthermore, IBM has chosen to employ superconducting qubits which use established microfabrication techniques developed for silicon technology, providing the potential to one day scale up to and manufacture thousands or millions of qubits.

World's Smallest Silicon Wire Leads To Atomic-Scale Computing, Moore's Law Continues

News of quantum breakthroughs seem to be coming every few months now, edging ever closer towards the hallowed goal of building a quantum computer using quantum qubits rather than classical bits and bringing colossal improvements in computational power. This will eventually lead to applications that we can't even imagine now and possibly a true artificial intelligence of the kind one sees in the movies. Also, it would allow calculations that would normally take longer than the lifetime of the universe on a classical computer to be made in just a few seconds or minutes on a quantum one. A goal well worth striving for.

The latest breakthrough comes from the University of New South Wales, Melbourne University and Purdue University who have developed the smallest wire yet. It's a silicon nanowire, having the tiny dimensions of just one atom high and four atoms wide. This is a feat in itself, but the crucial part is that the wire is able to maintain its resistivity even at this atomic level, making it far easier for current to flow, thereby preventing the tiny wire from becoming useless. This will help with the continuation of Moore's Law, giving us ever more powerful computers at the present rate and opens the door to quantum computing within the next decade.

TechEYE has a more detailed article about this development. This is based on an ABC Radio interview with Michelle Simmons from the University of New South Wales and makes for fascinating listening.

Multi-Purpose Photonic Chip Paves The Way To Programmable Quantum Processors

A multi-purpose optical chip which generates, manipulates and measures entanglement and mixture - two quantum phenomena which are essential driving forces for tomorrow's quantum computers - has been developed by researchers from the University of Bristol's Centre for Quantum Photonics. This work represents an important step forward in the race to develop a quantum computer.

The fundamental resource that drives a quantum computer is entanglement - the connection between two distant particles which Einstein famously called 'spooky action at a distance'. The Bristol researchers have, for the first time, shown that this remarkable phenomenon can be generated, manipulated and measured entirely on a tiny silica chip. They have also used the same chip to measure mixture - an often unwanted effect from the environment, but a phenomenon which can now be controlled and used to characterize quantum circuits, as well as being of fundamental interest to physicists.
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